Pasta, Rice, and Grains

Crabby Mac

by Shawnda on October 30, 2013

in Pasta, Rice, and Grains,Quick & Easy,Seafood

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

I spent almost my entire October doing nothing that was on my To Do List.

Or fun.

We didn’t have time to move this blog over to its new location at The Brewer and The Baker (but that’s still coming), we let the blog’s 7th birthday go by (that, too, is still coming), we almost let our 7th anniversary go by but Jason swooped in and saved the day with emergency margaritas, and here I am on the day before Halloween, marathon training on pause thanks to plantar fasciitis, and looking at a 90% chance of a Trick-or-Treat rain-out.

Seriously – waaaaaaah, right?

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

My family has sustained on Chick-fil-A and Jason’s Deli, I haven’t cleaned anything in 3 weeks (well, not the house we live in), and I bought new underwear to avoid “wasting” time by doing laundry. I also set a new personal-best for the number of F-Bombs dropped in a 12 second period. (Related: No. I do not want to talk about the paint incident.) (And yes, my power-tripping 3 year old put me in time out.)

If I could turn back time , I’d go back to 2008, look Past Shawnda in the eye, which would totally freak her out long enough to distract her, kick her in the girl parts, and scream “THIS IS WHAT BUYING RENTAL HOUSES DOES TO FUTURE SHAWNDA. PUT THAT MONEY IN APPLE AND VALERO STOCK AND GO GET A REAL JOB!”

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

For nearly 4 full weeks, I have not been a real joy to be around. But that all changed the second I dropped those house keys into my Realtor’s hands. We were free. FREE!

Free to come home to a house that smelled funky because no one remembers the last time we were here long enough to put garbage in the kitchen can, much less take it out to the street. Free to eat food that wasn’t handed to us through a drive-thru window. Free to realize that you’re better off just burning wet bath towels and the washer in which they were forgotten than trying to fix them.

Free to throw together a dinner using only things I could find in the pantry and freezer because we’re nearly through November’s grocery budget.

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

There are a few times that others can appreciate my hoarding tendencies. Finding crab in the freezer to throw in to some macaroni in cheese is one of those. Otherwise, we’d have found ourselves at Jason’s Deli for the 15th time this month.

A slight variation on our standard stove top mac & cheese recipe, I went for cream cheese instead of yogurt and added worcestershire, green onions, and a little mustard to make it more of a “crab dip meets pasta” dish. Warm, creamy, indulgent and still not that terrible for you – I was almost as happy polishing off a second helping as I was throwing the keys at my Realtor’s face and running away while laughing maniacally.

But now? Now it’s time for fun :)

Stovetop Crab Macaroni & Cheese

Stovetop macaroni and cheese meets crab dip - creamy, indulgent, and takes only 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pasta
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped (dark green parts set aside)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 oz white cheddar, shredded*
  • 3 oz fontina, shredded*
  • Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 cup crab meat, picked over for shells (this was from 1 1/2 snow crab clusters)
  • *Do not use pre-shredded cheese.

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water, according to package directions (you will be reserving some pasta water so don't forget - put the measuring cup in the strainer in the sink if you need a reminder).
  2. While the water is boiling/pasta is cooking, cut cream cheese into 6-8 blocks and microwave on half power until completely softened.
  3. In a small pan, heat a little oil and cook the white and light green onions parts and garlic for 2-3 minutes (you want to soften and knock the raw edge off).
  4. When the pasta is finished, reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain the pasta and immediately return it to the pot.
  5. Working quickly (it has to be hot to melt the cheese), add ~1/3 cup pasta water, the cream cheese, and 1/3 of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted - pressing on the cream cheese before stirring will help it incorporate faster.Stir in remaining cheese, one handful at a time to prevent clumping.
  6. Add the onions and garlic, few dashes Worcestershire, mustard, crab, and several grinds black pepper.
  7. Add additional pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce and melt the cheese.
  8. Garnish with dark green onion parts and serve hot/warm.

Notes

Yields: 3-4 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

{ 11 comments }

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

I was just not cut out to be a hoarder. I try – like really try – but in the end, neurosis kicks in and my priorities immediately shift to depleting the mountain of whatever I just bought “because it was such a great deal!” as quickly as humanly possible.

Obtaining things – not hard. But REtaining them? Completely impossible. Except toothpaste. Good Lord, do you know how long 12 tubes last?!

I had nearly 20lbs of hatch chiles in the freezer at one point. Now? Not even close. Why buy 20 lbs in August when I know I can get them canned year-round? Maybe because for a few short weeks, I happily submit to the hype and convince myself that it’s not quite the same making Pepperoni & Hatch Pizza in September with fresh chiles as it is in April with canned chiles… but we’re all adults here and we know it’s close enough that it won’t matter.

{Also, the little Fage Total yogurts were BOGO this week! Guess who has 18 now 15 containers of Greek yogurt in her fridge? And guess who eats like 2 a day?}

{Also, Target has Clif bars 6/$5 this week! Guess who will never have to buy another Clif bar again?}

So Mission:Empty The Freezer of All Signs of Hatch Chiles continues with this week’s favorite dinner to loudly protest and pout about before even taking a single bite: beans, sausage, and rice.

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

Why’d you type it like that – “beans, sausage, and rice.” You always say “red beans & rice.” Sausage is a given. And you didn’t say “red.” Why are you being so vague? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING OVER THERE?!

Simmah down, na’! Your red beans are actually black and loaded with hatch chiles. The sausage is made out of chicken and stuffed with cheese and hatch chiles. And no, the rice isn’t really rice. It’s quinoa.

Man, you just can’t slip anything by anybody over GChat in this house :)

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

I took a page out of my mom’s playbook (probably called Live Free and Crock Hard) (God, I hope that doesn’t means something gross in Urban Dictionary) (I’m totally not looking – and don’t you dare tell me if you do!) and made a giant vat of beans in the crockpot so I’d have lunchable leftovers for the week in the form of Black & White tacos.

If you’re going stove top method for the beans, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to overnight soak or quick soak (check your pack of dried beans for instructions). If you’re going canned, your house won’t smell awesome all day long… but you also won’t have to run the dishwasher a second time to avoid handwashing the crock.

But seriously, go make this and put a dent in your hatch chile stash. You can’t mess it up, whatever route you take.

Black Beans with Hatch Chiles, Chicken Sausage, and Quinoa

Chicken sausage, quinoa, black beans, and hatch chiles make for a healthier - and spicier - twist on beans & rice.

Ingredients

  • For the beans
  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices of thick bacon, diced
  • Salt
  • 6 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • 1 lb sausage, cut into ~1/3-inch rounds*
  • 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa (1/2 cup per person)
  • *I used HEB Hatch Chile & Cheese Chicken Sausage; it wasn't precooked so I just cooked it separately.

Instructions

  1. Put rinsed and picked-over dried beans in the crockpot with 8 cups of water, bay leaves, onion, garlic, bacon, and a couple of generous pinches of salt.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Add the chiles and sausage to the crockpot and let stand on low to heat the meat through, ~20 minutes.
  4. Serve a generous scoop of beans & sausage over 1/2 cup of cooked rice or quinoa.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings, with leftover beans

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 8 hours

{ 2 comments }

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

You can add “forgo dinner at home most nights and drag the family to Freebirds for a steak or chicken burrito bowl” to the list of things I’d do if money grew on trees around here. Right above that – never washing or flat-ironing my hair again.

And since money doesn’t grow on trees, butterfly clip or ponytail it is.

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

But because they’re so stinking easy to make at home, I can dump a bunch of burrito fixins into a bowl, call it a burrito bowl, crank up the theme song to Supernatural (Carry on my wayward so-oon!), and pretend I’m at Freebirds.

Our burrito bowls start with a super simple cilantro-lime quinoa (a compromise since I don’t really eat rice anymore), black or pinto beans, leftover diced chicken or steak, cheese, pico de gallo, a spicy tomatillo salsa, and extra jalapenos or serranos – because you can’t take your tastebuds with you when you die.

With hatch chiles everywhere right now, including the floor of my kitchen – don’t ask, we added a couple of the smokey, sweet chiles to the pico de gallo.

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

Minus the scoop of queso Jason usually adds to his burrito (were we just meant to be, or what?!), it’s just like eating at Freebirds. I do have to clean the kitchen but I can afford to keep the lights on around here :)

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Hatch Chile Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • For the quinoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • Juice from 1 1/2 limes
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • For the pico
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt
  • For assembly
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • Leftover chicken or steak, diced
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced jalapenos
  • Your favorite salsa

Instructions

  1. Add a generous pinch of salt to the cooking water and cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Let cool a bit, add the lime juice and cilantro, and fluff with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, make the pico (stir all ingredients in a bowl and set aside) and prepare your other ingredients as necessary.
  4. To build the burrito bowls, spoon quinoa into each bowl, top with beans, cheese, meat, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and a couple of spoonfuls of your favorite salsa.

Notes

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

{ 10 comments }

Hatch Chile and Bacon Mac & Cheese

Raise your hand if you, too, are excited about hatch chile season!

Why do I love hatch chiles? They’re sweeter and less bitter than most other peppers. They’re not overly spicy but the “hot” hatch chiles do have a nice amount of casual heat. And at $.48/lb this week, I’ll be spending my Saturday roasting and stocking the freezer for the upcoming year. Because nothing makes me happier than being able to whip up a hatch & pepperoni pizza. In February.

Hatch Chile and Bacon Mac & Cheese

We’ve got several new hatch chile recipes lined up over the next couple of weeks but we’re starting with possibly the best one. And by possibly, I mean we’ve had Hatch Chile Macaroni & Cheese twice this week. Once, with leftover shredded chicken. And the second time, I added bacon.

All in the name of more protein. (Which is really the only excuse one ever needs for more bacon, if an excuse is actually needed.)

Hatch Chile and Bacon Mac & Cheese

Pasta coated with a creamy white cheese sauce is the perfect vehicle for the sweet and smokey hatch chiles. We make our stovetop mac & cheese a little differently than most – we use fat-free Greek yogurt (adds protein and tanginess), some of the starchy pasta water (helps create the smooth sauce), and a combination of just about any cheese (one easy melting and one not) that we – or you – like.

You can read more about it here. Or you can just blindly follow the recipe below. I think you’ll be happy with your bowl of cheesy, creamy, spicy comfort either way.

Hatch Chile and Bacon Mac & Cheese

A stove top macaroni & cheese crafted just for hatch chile season. Make it while you can!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pasta
  • 4 oz white American cheese, shredded*
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded*
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked to a crisp
  • 4-5 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • *Do not use pre-shredded cheese. You can use as much as 5-6 oz Monterrey Jack and as little as 2-3oz American cheese and still get a nice, smooth sauce.

Instructions

  1. Bring salted water to boil and add pasta, cooking according to package directions.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, shred the cheese, chop your chiles, and measure out the yogurt.
  3. Before draining the pasta, dip a 1-cup measuring cup into the pot and pull out a full cup of the boiling pasta water - this is important. If you think you'll forget, put your measuring cup in the strainer when you put it in the sink - always a good way to remind yourself before you lose the water.
  4. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  5. Immediately add 1/2 cup of the pasta water, the yogurt and 1/3 of the cheese, stirring until the cheese has mostly melted.
  6. Add the remaining cheese in two batches, stirring until the cheese has melted into a smooth sauce. Add additional splashes of water as necessary to keep the sauce thin and the cheese hot (I usually have anywhere from 2-4Tbsp of pasta water left).
  7. Add the chiles, bacon, and black pepper, stirring until evenly distributed.
  8. Serve immediately.

Notes

Yields: 3-4 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

{ 15 comments }